Constant lower back pain is caused by four primary muscles that all put a strain on your pelvis. The first problem comes from the the psoas muscle that spans from the front side of your lumbar vertebrae and inserts into the inside/top of your thigh bone (the femur). Your psoas muscle enables you to bend forward, and/or lift your leg, and turn it out. Since this muscle is the key muscle that pulls you into the sitting position, it contracts many thousands of times every day, and unless you fold over backward, it never gets stretched.
As your psoas muscle shortens from repetitive use, it pulls the lumbar vertebrae forward and down, and if it doesn’t lengthen you feel constant lower back pain. People automatically rub their back, but the pain is actually coming from the psoas muscle that is located on front of the spine, and behind your intestines.
This is the reason why the pain actually feels a bit better when you bend over – you are going into the contraction and taking the pressure off the lumbar vertebrae. But, when you stand up, the muscle is again pulling on the vertebrae: pulling the bone out of alignment; compressing the disks; impinging on the nerves; and you are also feeling the tug of the muscle on the bone. The muscle definitely needs to be stretched.
It is important to consider the other three muscles that are key to constant lower back pain. They are:
As a reminder, it is important to check with your physician before you add any exercise or stretches to your routine. This is especially important if you have ever had any type of spinal surgery or accident.
The following stretch, along with detailed pictures and descriptions of how to self-treat all of the muscles that cause constant lower back pain is taught in greater detail in The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution.
The psoas muscle never gets stretched because the only way to stretch it is to keep your hips and legs completely straight and ONLY lean back at your waist. This is a very slight stretch; you aren’t looking to do a back-bend since you would need to move your pelvis and legs. While you will have discomfort along your lumbar vertebrae and possibly across the top of your posterior pelvis, only go to the point of a “feel good” stretch, not to the point of causing sharp pain. As soon as you feel the stretch go a tiny-bit further and then slowly stand up straight. Don’t hold yourself in the painful position. You will be able to go further each time you do it, and your back will feel better each time. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this helps relieve constant lower back pain.
To help yourself with positioning the first few times you do the psoas stretch, turn around at the sink – putting your calves up against the cabinet, and your hips resting against the counter. Keep your hips and calves gently touching the cabinet; also keep facing straight ahead, and lean back, moving your upper back over the sink.
Be aware to keep the pressure the same on your hips and calves, if you feel it increasing you will know you are leaning back with your lower body. Also, check to make sure that your weight is evenly distributed on your feet and you aren´t leaning back onto your heels. It helps if you place your hands on your stomach and lift up your chest, stretching your abdominal muscles. This will raise the spine a bit before you lean back. Do this movement 10 times. On the last stretch bend forward, arching your back and moving your hips side to side.